We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ AR Headsets; Amazon & Microsoft Look to Mapping for Self-Driving Cars

Having just recently had a conversation with a couple of friends in tech about how everyone is excited about virtual and augmented reality, but no one all that much about wearing big, bulky headsets, this caught my eye immediately…and it may be catching your eyes sooner, not later, and immersing them in VR and AR. Cnet.com reports Samsung has gotten a patent for smart contact lenses that will house a camera, movement sensors, transmitter, and display unit. They work in conjunction with a smartphone. You can look at photos and videos from the phone through the lenses. Google is also working along with medical provider Novartis on some smart contacts, albeit ones centering around health. Shrinking VR and AR down to contacts and earbuds? Now THAT’s something that can really take virtual reality mass market!

According to a report, both Amazon and Microsoft are close to getting involved with Here, the digital mapping business for autonomous vehicles. Here was started by Nokia, but bought by a group of German car makers….Mercedes, BMW, & Audi. Theverge.com says a board member at Daimler-parent of Mercedes-confirmed that both Amazon and Microsoft were interested in providing cloud computing capabilities for the mounds of data being gathered by Here’s sensors for autonomous vehicles.

Facebook Enters Crowdfunding; Ford Sees Self-Driving Cars in 4 Years

A lot of projects have been launched on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Now, it appears that Facebook is dipping its toe into the crowdfunding pool. According to techcrunch.com, they’ve just released something called Fundraiser, which lets non-profits set up a campaign page where they can roll a video, collect cash, and let people share on their newsfeed. As it stands, Fundraiser competes with Crowdrise, but it wouldn’t take much for Facebook to drop the ‘non’ from nonprofit. With people able to donate and never leave Facebook, it will be easier than ever to fund nonprofit projects…and perhaps in the near future, FOR profit ones.

The race is really on…figuratively, at least…to autonomous cars. Recode.net reports that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields said this week that he sees completely self-driving cars on the streets within 4 years. That’s even quicker than Google’s prediction of 5 years. Ford has started testing autonomous cars at Mcity, the 30 plus acre test layout operated by the University of Michigan. Mcity has a full scale urban streets test layout. The Ford CEO also said they have plans to include Apple Car Play and Google’s Android Auto in some of the Ford line, but he didn’t specify what models or the timetable.